8/31/16

"Texas" Tri-Tip Roast


This is actually my first foray into Tri-Tip territory... crazy, right?

Growing up in Texas (now living in Southern California), you just don't see this particular cut of beef. Brisket is king there. But in California, you see Tri-Tip everywhere! And although I've lived here for many years, I had never tried it nor prepared it. However, last week when I was at my local farmer's market picking up my usual beef selections from the 5 Bar Beef stand, Frank, the proprietor, says to me, "Hey, I have a nice Tri-Tip today, do you want it?"

Without even thinking or asking any questions, I exclaimed "Yes!" Wait. What? I don't even know what it's supposed to taste like. What the heck am I going to do with it? Hmmm. On the plus side, I quickly reasoned in my head:  It's a good value, 100% pasture-raised and grass-fed from a rancher that I trust, and since I now consider myself a "Californian", I didn't want them to revoke my locals card, so I figured, I might as well give it a try.

Why all the fuss over one piece of meat? Well, you can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take the Texas out of the girl and beef is sacred to Texans. You just can't do any old thing to it and expect people to come back over the next time you want to host a backyard bbq. You have to respect the beef. Treat it well. Preserve all the goodness and natural flavor. I didn't want to mess this thing up. So I chose to make a simple dry rub to coat it, then cooked it low and slow.

Admittedly, I unintentionally cooked it to well done (it was still delicious!) when I would have preferred medium, but I've adjusted the cook time below to reflect "medium" rather than what you see in the picture. If you like yours well done, add another 25 minutes or so to the cook time.

"Texas" Tri-Tip Roast
Serves 4
Oven 225 degrees F

1 1/2 lb grass-fed Tri-Tip Roast
1 Tbsp organic onion granules or powder (I like Frontier Co-op)
1 Tbsp organic garlic granules or powder (I like Frontier Co-op)
2 teaspoons organic all-seasons salt (I like Simply Organic)
1 teaspoon organic smoked paprika  (I like Simply Organic)

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry spices together. Rub the spices on all sides of the roast and press on tightly.

Place the roast in a shallow cooking pan, ideally with a small rack inserted to elevate it from the juices. Cover the pan and place in the oven for approximately 1 1/2 hours for medium.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing (against the grain). Be sure to spoon all of the delicious pan drippings over it before serving.

Optional serving suggestion: Finish it with a pat of grass-fed butter and a light sprinkle of smoked sea salt (such as Maldon Smoked Sea Salt). I did this to the leftovers and it was awesome.


8/26/16

Italian Style Meatloaf (Low Carb, Paleo and Bulletproof Option)

Italian Style Meatloaf

I never get tired of meatloaf. There are endless ways to theme it, but one of my favorites is Italian style. And let me just say that any time I can get Italian AND it's low carb, I'm a happy camper.  Therefore, I make my meatloaf (and meatballs for that matter) sans any kind of breading or starchy filler - it's simply not needed.

Often times I will use a blend of different meats (beef, lamb, pork, etc.) but for this very simple version today, I used only beef (100% grass-fed). To complete my low carb meal, I paired the meatloaf with a side of Caulimash (steamed organic cauliflower, grass-fed butter, sea salt, organic sour cream and organic cream cheese blended together in a food processor until smooth - leave out the cheese and sour cream to make Paleo and Bulletproof) and a fresh salad of shaved raw organic zucchini with sea salt.

For plating, I spooned some of the drippings from the meatloaf over the dish along with a garnish of fresh oregano right before serving, and for a little extra punch (and mostly because it happens to be Hatch Chile Season right now), I added some roasted Hatch chiles as well - totally optional and not Italian but it worked.

To make this meatloaf Paleo and Bulletproof, leave out the cheese.

Lastly, this meal is entirely naturally gluten-free - always a good thing.

Italian Style Meatloaf
Oven 350 degrees F
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 3/4 lb. 100% grass-fed ground beef (as fatty as possible, see Cook's Note)
1 pastured egg
3/4 cup shredded organic Italian cheese blend, divided (I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Italian Blend which has provolone, parmesan, asiago and fontina) (omit to make Paleo and Bulletproof)
1/4 cup marinara (I use this one, or make my own)
2 Tablespoons organic Italian seasoning (I used this one)
3 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
2 sprigs fresh organic oregano, leaves only, optional for garnish

Be sure your oven is preheating to 350 degrees F.

Place all of the ingredients, except 1/4 cup of the cheese (reserve to top the meatloaf with it), in a large bowl and mix well with your hands.

Press the mixture into a deep dish loaf pan or dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese evenly sprinkled across the top. If omitting the cheese, consider spreading a little of the marinara sauce across the top instead.

Bake in the oven for approximately 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with fresh oregano if desired, and don't forget to drizzle all those good juices from the pan over the top!

Cook's Note: Shoot for the fattiest grass-fed ground beef you can find. If grass-fed ground beef is not available, go for extra lean ground beef and add 1-2 Tablespoons of a healthy fat such as unflavored coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or even better - use this MCT oil, to your mixture before cooking. Grass-fed, pasture-raised beef naturally contains a good dose of healthy Omega 3 and CLA fatty acids which are good for you. Conversely, feedlot or factory farmed cattle contain high doses of unhealthy fats (often in addition to antibiotics and growth hormones), so choosing extra lean when eating this type of beef and then adding your own healthy fats is a better idea.

Out of the oven with a little fresh oregano added:



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8/20/16

Asian Pork Salad - Bulletproof and Paleo

Asian Pork Salad
Sometimes you have a hankering for a particular thing, and lately I've had banh mi's on my mind which were the inspiration for this recipe. Since I rarely eat sandwiches, a salad seemed like a good idea. And while pork patties aren't what you'd expect to find on a traditional banh mi, this just worked. It's very simply, Asian-spiced ground pork formed into little patties (which conveniently cook up in a matter of minutes) over a salad of mild mixed greens. The dressing is light and fresh, reminiscent of a lightly sweet Thai chili sauce.

You can use whatever greens you like. I prefer this mild mix of tender baby greens blended with sweet pea shoots called "Sweet Pea" by organicgirl topped with organic Asian micro greens found at my local Whole Foods Market.

Asian Pork Salad
Serves 2 large portions or 4 light portions

Ingredients:

For the Pork Patties
1 lb ground pastured pork
3 green onions, chopped small
3 Tablespoons micro cilantro or chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh lemongrass (see Cook's Note)
2 large cloves fresh garlic, pressed or finely grated
1/2 of a fresh Thai chili, finely minced (more or less depending on heat preference)
1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

For the Dressing
Juice of 1 small lime
1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
1 Tablespoon Bulletproof Brain Octane or unflavored liquid coconut oil
1/4 - 1/2 of a fresh Thai chili, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
pinch sea salt

For the Salad
1 large container of mild mixed greens (I like this one)
handful of Asian micro greens (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of sea salt

To make the patties:
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Form into small, thin patties - approximately 14-16 patties - and set aside. Heat a large skillet to medium - medium high heat. Place the patties in a single layer, working in batches if needed, and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until fully cooked.

To make the dressing:
In a small bowl, place all of the ingredients and whisk together.

To make the salad:
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.

To eat:
Top salad with warm pork patties and drizzle with the dressing.

Cook's Note: To prep your fresh lemongrass, remove the tough outer layers revealing the softer inner part of the stalk. Use a microplane grater to grate finely, as it's fibrous if not broken down.


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